August 7

9 Budget-Friendly Productivity Tools that Won’t Break the Bank


by | Aug 7, 2023 | Featured, Tools

In today’s marketing environment, chances are your budget is already stretched thin. To help out, here are some powerful yet budget friendly productivity tools that won’t break the bank.

In today’s increasingly connected and competitive landscape, keeping up with the latest trends and tools while staying within budget can be daunting — but it doesn’t have to be!

From social media management to scheduling software, each of the options in this blog post provide an economical way for you to enhance your day-to-day operations without sacrificing quality or support. 

While I’m sure you’ve heard of some of these tools, if you read (or skim 🙃) through my whole list, I’m sure there’ll be something new to help you better optimize your daily workflows. 

Get ready to take on the competition with some great productivity tools that don’t cost an arm and a leg—let’s get started!

1. Google Workspace

Google Workspace offers a range of tools to help higher education marketers collaborate more effectively, share information easily, and access data securely. With its cost-effective pricing for educational institutions, it provides an affordable way to increase productivity and efficiency. 

Google Workspace includes a suite of communication and productivity tools—and all for a truly economical pricing model for education institutions. 

The integrated chat, video conferencing, and collaboration tools enable marketers to have productive conversations with colleagues, partners, faculty members, students, and other stakeholders. 

With various file sharing capabilities ranging from text documents to spreadsheets and slideshows, higher education marketing teams can manage projects more efficiently while staying organized. 

My team and I use Google Workspace every day. 

Along with its almost universal integration options with other tools (like the team management app I’ll show you below), it’s my absolute top-pick on this list of productivity tools. 

2. Teamwork

Like Google Workspace, another go-to productivity tool my team and I use daily is a team management application called Teamwork

This robust team management app allows you to streamline your work by providing a platform for task delegation, project monitoring, and communication. 

You can easily prioritize tasks, monitor project progress, and keep everyone on the team informed and engaged. 

Teamwork’s flexibility allows you to customize workflows to suit your team’s unique needs, making it an excellent tool for managing a diverse range of marketing projects.

I’ve also appreciated Teamwork’s tiered pricing strategy, which has allowed me to scale its services according to our project needs and budget.

It offers a free version with basic functionality for small teams, while its premium versions provide more advanced features at competitive prices. 

3. Trello

If you need a team productivity tool even more cost effective than Teamwork, you should definitely check out Trello (now part of the Atlassian productivity suite). 

Basically inventing the dashboard layout you see in almost all of its competitors, Trello’s boards, lists, and cards allow for easy organization and delegation of tasks, turning the complex marketing projects into manageable segments. 

By visually laying out all tasks and deadlines, Trello helps teams stay on track and understand their roles and responsibilities clearly. 

Plus, its real-time collaboration feature allows for instant feedback and revisions, making the process more efficient and less time-consuming. This can lead to significant improvements in productivity as it minimizes the potential for misunderstandings and delays that often occur in team-based projects.

While it offers a free version that is quite comprehensive in its own right, its premium versions—Trello Gold and Business Class—provide advanced features at a reasonable cost. These include integrations with other tools like Google Drive, Slack, and more, which can further streamline the workflow. 

The cost-effectiveness of Trello makes it probably the most budget friendly productivity tool on this list.

4. ChatGPT

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m an optimist when it comes to new AI-powered technologies like ChatGPT, an advanced language model developed by OpenAI.

There are lots of unknowns for higher ed marketers around the corner, but in general, if you embrace AI-powered tech like ChatGPT, you can experience some major productivity gains.

ChatGPT can handle a wide range of tasks, including drafting emails, writing content, or handling customer support queries, thus allowing the marketing team to focus on more strategic and complex tasks. 

More importantly, it can do this 24/7, ensuring that potential leads are engaged at any time of the day, eliminating the need for round-the-clock human support and saving significant personnel costs.

What’s more, ChatGPT’s subscription model doesn’t cost that much. Coming in at just $20 per month, you’re getting a bargain price for the ability to handle a variety of tasks and improve over time.

5. Element451

Element451 is a CRM that specializes in taking a personalized approach to admissions and enrollment.

With their user-friendly platform and seamless integration capabilities, Element451 makes it easy to navigate audience segmentation and bring all your relevant data together in one place.

Exciting things are happening at Element451 in 2023. They are rolling out their cutting-edge generative AI bots, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4. One of these bots is specifically designed to help you create and edit original content.

But while AI tools are great for education marketing, it’s important to remember that they are just that—tools. 

AI technology is advancing rapidly, but it’s not flawless. That’s why I encourage you to stay involved in your content creation process.

6. Zoho CRM

Although it wasn’t specifically designed for higher education, Zoho CRM’s user-friendly flexibility allows you to tailor the platform to your requirements.

With Zoho CRM, you have the power to create a layout that suits your exact specifications. Thanks to a variety of development kits and module customization options, you can easily customize the platform to fit your comm flow. 

It may take a little bit of effort, but with some elbow grease, Zoho CRM can become a perfect fit for your needs.

Zoho CRM also offers a wide range of custom apps and tools in their marketplace. No matter what specific features or functionality you need, you can easily find and integrate them into your CRM system.

While the Standard plan includes basic email insights and dashboard components, the real strength of Zoho CRM lies in its customization capabilities and user-friendly interface. 

So if you’re looking for a CRM solution that can be tailored to your needs in enrollment marketing, Zoho CRM is definitely worth considering.

7. Hubspot CRM

You’re probably familiar with the content marketing experts at HubSpot, but did you know they still offer a free version of their CRM?

Like a few other CRMs in this list, Hubspot’s platform caters to all kinds of industries, but their free CRM can get you started on your automation journey without any risk.

It allows one user to send up to 2,000/month in one automated action and also offers basic SEO recommendations.

And once you’re ready to expand your toolset, Hubspot’s Starter package is reasonably priced.

8. Unibuddy

Ok, so here’s where this list is going to get more interesting with some productivity tools that go way beyond task, team, and project management. 

One of the best ways to improve productivity is to involve more people in the work, especially key people who can be a major influence in the college decision making process.

While I’m sure your enrollment officers and marketers are amazing people, studies show that current students are more likely to resonate deeper with prospective students than staff members. 

Leveraging the influence of your current students is an automatic productivity boost.

That’s why I’m including two incredible peer-to-peer marketing tools on this productivity app list!

So first, let me introduce you to Unibuddy

Unibuddy stands out as a unique platform in the realm of productivity tools by harnessing the power of peer-to-peer connection for higher education marketers. 

By allowing potential students to connect directly with current students, Unibuddy provides an authentic, first-hand perspective into the institution—something a traditional marketing campaign cannot replicate. 

Also, Unibuddy’s interface is designed for efficiency and ease of use, further boosting productivity. 

The platform allows marketers to manage their student ambassadors, track interactions, and gain valuable insights from analytics. 

The data generated from these peer-to-peer interactions can inform future marketing strategies and help institutions better understand their target audience’s needs and concerns. 

This way, Unibuddy turns every conversation into a learning opportunity, providing information that fuels continuous improvement in marketing strategies.

I consider Unibuddy a budget-friendly productivity tool because it operates on a subscription based on the number of your “Full Time Equivalent Students.”

9. The Ambassador Platform

Another excellent peer-to-peer option is The Ambassador Platform

Peer-to-peer marketing applications like The Ambassador Platform have incredible benefits for education marketers as productivity tools.

The Ambassador Platform offers a wide array of features designed to optimize productivity and efficiency for your student ambassador program

These features include content creation, moderation tools, reporting and analytics, and CRM integration. With these tools, marketers can easily manage their student ambassadors, monitor the quality of interactions, and gain insights that can be utilized for enhancing future marketing strategies. 

Additionally, the platform’s seamless integration with pre-existing CRM systems ensures a smooth workflow, further boosting productivity and saving valuable time and resources.

Investing in The Ambassador Platform is a cost-effective strategy for higher education marketers. 

The platform operates on a subscription basis, providing different tiers to accommodate the unique needs and budgets of varying institutions. 

When compared to the costs of hiring new staff to build relationships with prospective students, investing in this platform is significantly less expensive, and arguably more efficient. 

Utilizing current students as ambassadors not only saves on staffing costs, but also provides an authentic voice to the institution’s marketing efforts that resonates with potential students.


No matter what your budget is, there are plenty of options available to help higher ed marketers stay productive. 

With the right tools and strategies in place, you’ll be able to maximize your efforts and succeed in today’s global education market.

But while having the right tools is important, perhaps even more important is having the right mindset. 

Practicing good productivity habits such as focusing on one task at a time, batching tasks to save time, and taking regular breaks can go a long way in helping you stay productive. 

Tools are great, but there’s no substitute for hard work and dedication.

With the right mix of budget friendly tools and a productive mindset, higher ed marketers can leverage their unique advantages and succeed in today’s highly competitive education market. 

For more ideas to boost your productivity and improve your enrollment results, feel free to drop us a note

Looking for Enrollment Marketing Content that Works?

You’re in luck! We’ve curated 25 awesome ideas inspired by top higher ed institutions across the country and put them in one handy guide: 25 Ideas for Great Admissions Content.

25 Ideas for Great Admissions Content In this popular resource from Caylor Solutions, you’ll get…

  • 25 enrollment marketing content ideas you might never have considered before
  • Guidance on how to use each one for best results
  • Brief discussion on why they work to help you sell these ideas to your team

Get inspired.
Get enrollment results.
Get 25 Ideas for Great Admissions Content.
Download your copy today!

Featured image by via Adobe Stock

Download Your Copy Today!

Fill out the following form to get instant access to our ebook, Guide to Planning an Education Website Redesign

Caylor Solutions eBook

Download Your Copy Today!

Fill out the following form to get instant access to our ebook, #Hashtags: Your Social Media Secret Weapon

Download Your Copy Today!

Fill out the following form to get instant access to our ebook, Writing for the Web: 7 Secrets to Content Marketing Success for Education Marketers

Download Your Copy Today!

Fill out the following form to get instant access to our ebook, Marketing on a Shoestring Budget.

Download Your Copy Today!

Fill out the following form to get instant access to our ebook, 25 Ideas for Great Admissions Content.

Looking for other higher-ed content and resources from Caylor Solutions?

Subscribe to The Higher Ed Marketer podcast today!

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts